Longboat Key Club and Resort officials believe a scale model of the club’s $400 million Islandside renovation-and-expansion project is helping to change some residents’ opinions about the project.
The club’s scale model of the project is on display inside the old Islandside tennis pro shop off Longboat Club Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday. On Monday, June 7, the model will be on display at the Town Commission’s 9 a.m. Islandside hearing at Temple Beth Israel, where it will officially be entered into evidence.
On Thursday, June 3, club Public Relations Manager Katherine Songster said approximately 50 people came to look at the model.
Noting that several residents from Lighthouse Point came to look at the model, Songster said one Lighthouse Point couple that previously opposed the project signed a form supporting the project before they left.
“Residents are having a positive reaction to what they see,” Songster said.
Longboat Key residents David and Camille Weiser viewed the model Friday morning.
"This is a good idea," Camille Weiser said of the model. "Now you can see the three-dimensional view. And (it shows) the hotel is not blocking anything."
Many of the visitors, Songster said, noted the scale model helped them realize that the proposed meeting center and garage is not as large as they originally thought.
“Residents have also been excited about the landscaping, the project’s open space between buildings and how the development fits in with the buildings that already exist in Islandside,” Songster said.
Songster believes the 3D-scale model has helped both supporters and opponents of the project to have a better understanding of what the club is proposing.
Said Songster: “Everybody’s general consensus is that the model was very helpful and has addressed overall concerns. It’s been a powerful, visual tool that shows how the project blends in with the existing character of the neighborhood.”
But not everyone agrees the scale model has assuaged concerns.
Said Islandside Property Owners Coalition President Bob White: “I think it confirms what we have said all along. It’s a pretty massive project. I’m not sure if this (model) will help their cause or hurt it.”
And at least one other opponent of the project has written an e-mail to Town Hall after viewing the model.
Wrote Bob Blumberg: “I went to view the scale model this morning … the picture tells the story. If you remove the projected additions and compare what was the open space, I trust you and the others commissioners will agree that the project is too massive for out little peaceful and beautiful Key.”
But Islandside resident Claude Engle sent an e-mail to club officials Friday praising the model.
Wrote Engle: "Surely anyone viewing this model objectively will see how appropriate the project is as a visual continuation of the towers that currently surround the golf course.I hope the commission approves this."
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].